2010 Maine Black Bear Hunts

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Week 1

The 2010 bear hunt began with the arrival of Matt and Erica Miller from Pennsylvania arriving at the lodge and getting reacquainted with my two German Shorthaired Pointers, Trapper and Ranger. Shortly after they arrived Mike Healy and his guests from the Virginia area rolled into camp. The boys from the south brought the heat with them, because this ended up being the hottest week of bear hunting I can remember. Temperatures each day of the week were in the 90's with not much relief after dark. Well we gathered around the table for some Maine lobster, followed by an orientation talk given by me, Master Maine Guide Rick Theriault. We then went to the rifle range to be sure everything was in order. While at the range it was discovered that the rifle Carter Shaw who was a last minute addition to the group had a borrowed rifle with iron sites. Although the caliber, 45-70, was a great one for bear; the rifle's iron sites had it shooting a foot high at the 50 yard range we would be hunting at. I provided Carter with my trusty 7mm Remington Magnum rifle with a Leupold 3-9x scope and hand loaded ammunition for the rifle. He found it shot perfectly for the ranges we would be hunting at. We returned to the lodge for some pie and fellowship and for some of us some much needed sleep.

Well Monday morning arrived and it was already HOT. Nancy provided the bear hunters with a great lunch and we prepared to head to the field to hunt some Maine black bears. I headed out to the field with the first group of hunters and dropped Matt Miller off first at his tree stand. I then headed up the road and put Mike Waller out in his blind on his active bear bait. The third hunter out was Doug Smith who was going to hunt the same bait he had taken a bear on the year before. Last out of the first group of hunters was Chris Waller he was hunting out of a tree stand on a great bear site. Nancy then met me with the next batch of hunters that got into the trusty Ford 4x4 for the journey into their bear sites. Carter Shaw was the next out. He was going to hunt "The Bone Yard", a bear site with an impressive history. Finally I got Mike Healy out into his pop up blind, which on this HOT Monday was sort of a sauna. I then headed back to the lodge to gather up James and drive him to his stand, which as a crow flies was only about 1 mile form the lodge, but a great location for bears. I headed back to bear central to empty my truck of bait buckets, gather a cooler of cold drinks and other bear retrieval gear and finally sit down for a minute to have a glass of water. I no more than sat down and my cell phone rang. It was "Down on all Sixes" Chris Waller. He had just taken his Maine bear at right around 4 in the afternoon. I drank my glass of water and headed out to retrieve his bear.

One thing about "All Sixes" is he puts his bears down. The bear was right at the bait site making retrieval a quick process. We got the bear in the truck, headed to the tagging station, stopped and took a few pictures of his bear and had it in the cooler when my cell phone rang again. This call came from Carter who excitedly relayed that he had just shot a bear. Chris and I headed out to "The Bone Yard" where we found a smiling Carter. He lead us into the bait site while relaying that he had watched bears almost continuously since about 5 p.m. He had seen as many as 8 bears on his bait site before he shot the bear we were about to see. The bear had given him a great broad side shot, which he took. It then ran right towards him and died about 15 yards from his feet, and it was a large bear. It dressed out at over 400 pounds. Well we dressed off the bear, and Chris said we could get it to my truck, I had my doubts, but the three of us were able to get it loaded into the back of the Ford. Shortly after getting it in the truck we heard a shot off in the distance and soon my phone rang letting me know that Doug had just shot a bear. As the end of shooting time was approaching I told Doug I would be in to look for his bear once we had everyone gathered up. Nancy met me and took a few of the guys with her back to the lodge while I headed in with Doug and Carter to look for Doug's bear. Doug made a good shot and we had some blood, but not much, so I opted to return in the early morning to find his bear. We hurried back to the lodge where an anxious James was waiting. He had shot at a bear in the waning moments of light, but had rushed his shot. After close examination of his bait site I was certain he had missed the bear that had visited his location. When we arrived at the lodge I learned that Mike Healy had seen a BIG BEAR right at dark, but was unable to make a good shot, Mike Waller had seen a bear on his bait site several times, and Matt Miller had seen two bears on his site. So by the end of the first day of the season we had 3 bears down, 1 bear missed a total of 14 bears seen.

First thing Tuesday morning had Doug and I heading into his site. About 20 feet from where I gave up looking in the night I found his boar bear. We dressed it off and headed to the truck with it. We then got it tagged and back to the lodge for some photos. After another great lunch I headed out with the remaining 4 hunters to try their luck at taking their own Maine black bear. I suggested to Mike Healy to wear shorts in his pop-up blind, to stay a bit cooler, but again it was very hot for Maine. After everyone was situated I headed back to the lodge to wait for calls. Around 6 p.m. Mike Healy called that he had shot a bear. Chris and I headed in to his remote bait site and he lead us right to his nice Maine bear. We quickly dressed it off and loaded it on the stretcher to carry it to the truck. We then waited for the end of shooting hours to gather up Mike Waller and Matt Miller. Both Matt and Mike had seen bears again on their bait sites, but had not taken a shot. Nancy picked James up, and his afternoon on his site was uneventful. So as we headed back to the lodge we had taken 1 more Maine black bear and seen 3 others.

On Wednesday we had 3 hunters yet to fill their tags. After another great lunch prepared by Nancy, we headed to some fresh bait sites. I got the guys in their stands and headed back to the lodge to await a call. It wasn't too long and James called to say he had just shot a bear. His good friend Doug who had taken a bear on Monday opted to ride in with me as we retrieved James' bear. Once again this hunter had placed his shot perfectly and the bear dropped right on the trail, making retrieval quick. We headed to the tagging station then back to the lodge where we took some photos then placed the bear in the cooler. I then headed into the woods to pick-up the remaining two hunters. Mike had seen a good bear, but was unable to get a shot, but Matt had a quiet afternoon on stand. We headed back for a great meal, fellowship and sleep.

Thursday found just two hunters yet to take a bear. On this day Matt who had been archery hunting opted to borrow one of the guide's rifles. Since it was so hot, we both felt getting a bit further back from the bait site would improve Matt's chances of taking a bear. We were right. It wasn't too long after Matt was in his stand that a bear came in and gave him the shot he needed. Matt put the bear down right at the bait site. This left just Mike to fill his tag. Again a bear had visited his stand, but provided no shot. As luck would have it a hurricane was approaching Virginia and the rest of his crew wanted to head back that evening in case things got bad at home. So our week of bear hunting ended on Thursday afternoon with 6 out of 7 hunters filling their tags and over 22 bears seen by the hunters.

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